Circular Lighting Report

Each light set to get a passport

Luminaire passport

Each luminaire is set to its own ‘passport’ under an environmental initiative launched in London this week.

The Materials Passports scheme – unveiled in a major policy paper by the leading architectural practice Orms and Lancaster University – has been gaining increasing support among the capital’s design community since the idea was mooted in 2019.

The concept is that comprehensive information about each element of a building – from the bricks to the carpet – is available so that it will be easier to reuse when the building is redeveloped or demolished.

Its backers see it as a way to implement the requirements of the Greater London Authority’s Circular Economy statement introduced in 2020.

A typical product passport will detail the materials and technologies as well as its reuse and remanufacture potential. It will also show whether the product is covered by a take-back scheme.

It’s proposed that the passport information will be in the standard Uniclass digital format, familiar to many in the construction industry and compatible with Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems.

The researchers behind the scheme also recommend that the information be stored in the cloud-based database, Airtable.

The digital information should also be accessible via a physical QR code affixed to items such as light fittings.

It’s envisaged that Materials Passports could become a requirement on projects in the coming years, driven by local authorities, clients and specification from design teams.

Orms Architects proposes that from 2025 onwards, every project should have Materials Passports.

A building with Material Passports will in turn become a ‘treasure trove’ of components for future buildings. ‘This is Lego for grown-ups,’ say Rachel Hoolahan of Orms. ‘The idea is that we can take buildings apart and reuse them.’

She said architects have already become ‘materials traders’, offering items with reuse potential around to industry colleagues. The Material Passporting initiative formalises this.

‘What we want is a culture of transparency,’ she told her audience of design professionals.

• Download the Materials Passport policy paper HERE.

• Materials Passport is one of the topics set to be covered at Circular Lighting Live 2024, Recolight’s flagship conference and exhibition, which takes place on Wednesday 9 October 2024 at the Royal College of Physicians in London. Free to specifiers, Circular Lighting Live 2024 will feature leading experts, specifiers and policy makers who will share their insights into forthcoming standards and legislation, emerging technologies and new business models. More info:

Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.